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Shots Fired at British Embassy in Tehran - 2003-09-03

According to the Foreign Office in London, five shots were fired from the street at the British embassy in Tehran. Windows were broken, but no one was injured. The compound will remain closed until further notice.

Earlier, Iran's Ambassador to Britain, Morteza Samadi was recalled to Tehran for what are being described as consultations. It is not known how long Ambassador Samadi will remain away from his post in Britain, but the U.K. Foreign Office says the recall does not represent a downgrading of relations between the two countries.

It is the latest incident in a growing diplomatic dispute between the two nations. At issue is the possible extradition to Argentina of the former Iranian Ambassador to Buenos Aires. Hadi Soleimanpur is wanted for questioning about a bombing nine years ago that killed 85 people at the Jewish community center in the Argentine capital.

Mr. Soleimanpur, 47, has made two brief court appearances in London. He is being held in custody pending the outcome of the extradition battle. He entered Britain a year and a half ago on a student visa and until recently had been a researcher at Durham University in northeast England.

Mr. Soleimanpur's lawyers firmly deny that he was involved in the bombing. The British Foreign Office calls it a judicial matter, while Tehran says the detention of its former diplomat is politically motivated.

Angered by the growing diplomatic row, Tehran has broken off economic and cultural ties with Argentina and it has hinted that it might expel Britain's ambassador to Iran if the matter is not resolved to its satisfaction.